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Published On: Wed, Jun 24th, 2020

Edo/Ondo guber: INEC insists on deadlines for primaries, submission of candidates

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  • Says conflicting court orders threat to smooth polls

By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja

Despite the crises rocking the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leading to series of court cases ahead of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has maintained that its deadlines for conclusion of party primaries and submission of candidates’ names for the two elections stand.
This is even as the Prof Mahmood Yakubu-led Commission warned that the spate and tenor of pre-election litigations and the conflicting orders emanating therefrom could harm the smooth conduct of primaries and the upcoming elections.
The Commission stated this at the end of the meeting of management staff yesterday in Abuja.
In a statement issued by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, INEC pointed out that the conduct of party primaries, including resolution of disputes arising therefrom, will end on Saturday 27th June 2020, while the submission of the list of candidates the parties propose to sponsor at the election and affidavits of validly nominated candidates will close at 6pm on Monday 29th June 2020.
The Commission declared that it is closely monitoring the cases arising from the administration of political parties, the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates.
The statement reads in part, “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met today (yesterday) the 23rd June, 2020 and deliberated on a range of issues including the ongoing conduct of Party Primaries relating to the Edo Governorship election slated for the 19th September 2020, the Court Orders emanating from the administration of political parties and conduct of the primaries, as well as the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Officials on Electoral Duty”.
Speaking on party primaries, the statement declared, “The Commission notes that the conduct of party primaries, including resolution of disputes arising therefrom will end on Saturday 27th June 2020, while the submission of the list of candidates the parties propose to sponsor at the election and affidavits of validly nominated candidates will close at 6pm on Monday 29th June 2020.
While specifically commenting of the various court orders regarding the primaries and the elections, INEC warned, “Political Parties should note that the organisation and scheduling of various activities and processes leading to the conduct of elections are complex and involve extensive and careful planning and any disruption of these processes comes at a huge cost to the nation.
“The spate and tenor of pre-election litigations and the conflicting orders emanating therefrom can harm the smooth conduct of primaries and the upcoming elections.
“The Commission is closely monitoring the cases arising from the administration of political parties, the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates” it said.
It added, “In view of this and as part of its commitment to deepen the use of technology in elections, the Commission will conduct a training programme for Liaison Officers nominated by all the registered Political Parties on the use of the INEC Portal for uploading nomination forms of candidates.
“The training will take place at the Conference Hall of the Commission on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th June 2020 in two batches, to allow for physical distancing in line with the COVID-19 protocols.
Commenting on the code of conduct and rules of engagement for security officials on electoral duty, the statement added, “The Commission also considered the report from the meeting of the Inter- Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), which recently approved a Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Security Officials on Electoral Duty.
“The Code is signed by the Chairman of INEC, the National Security Adviser (NSA) as Co-Chairman of ICCES and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) as head of the lead agency in election security.
“The said Code will be uploaded on the websites of the Commission, the Office of the NSA and the Nigeria Police Force on Thursday 25th June 2020”, it said.

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